The so-called Taxpayer's Bill of Rights could force tuition increases that would force low- and middle-income students out of college and make higher education affordable only to the rich, Board of Regents Chairwoman Donna Shank said Thursday.
Shank wrote a statement on the proposed constitutional amendment, known as TABOR, that would require voter approval of state tax increases, limit state spending growth to the inflation rate and refund taxes above that amount.
"I intend to watch the debate closely, study the information presented and ask tough questions along the way," Shank said.
The Board of Regents has not taken an official position on TABOR. But Regents Spokesman Kip Peterson said Regents will likely take a formal position on the issue before the start of the next legislative session.
TABOR supporters have been touring the state in a bus this week, meeting opposition at some stops.
Supporters say TABOR will improve the economy while protecting taxpayers.
"The Kansas people should have an opportunity to be part of a citizen budget and not a bureaucratic budget," Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, a TABOR supporter said when the bus left Topeka on Tuesday, beginning a 23-city tour aimed at building support for the proposed amendment.
Shank said it's important to note how TABOR has worked in Colorado, which adopted it in 1992.
"It's been a terrible experience in Colorado to higher education," said Regent Frank Gaines, of Hamilton.
Shank said Colorado's economy has imploded as tuition skyrocketed.
"If TABOR is such an economic cure-all, why is Colorado running on life support?" she asked.